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United Nations Daily Highlights, 04-03-08

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: unnews@un.org

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING

BY

FRED ECKHARD

SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

OF THE UNITED NATIONS

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Monday, March 8, 2004

ANNAN WILL REVIEW POSSIBLE ROLE

ENVISAGED BY IRAQIS FOR THE UNITED NATIONS

The Spokesman, in response to questions, said that Secretary-General Kofi Annan has learned that the Law of Administration for the Transitional Period in

Iraq was signed today. The Secretary-General takes note of this development and will study the document carefully. In this regard, he will also review the possible role which may be envisaged by Iraqis for the United Nations.

The Secretary-General emphasizes the importance of an inclusive national dialogue and genuine consensus-building among all Iraqis, which will help to promote stability in Iraq as the country moves closer to regaining its sovereignty.

Asked if the United Nations had received any communications from Iraq regarding a role for the UN electoral team or for Special Adviser Lakhdar Brahimi, the Spokesman said it had not, although the United Nations would expect some kind of formal request on electoral assistance before it sent a team.

He noted that Brahimi has been in touch with various parties in Iraq, and could act on the basis of some kind of oral communication. It would be up to Brahimi to assess whether to return to Iraq on the basis of those communications.

SECRETARY-GENERAL DEPLORES ISRAELI RAIDS IN GAZA STRIP

The Secretary-General, in a statement, strongly deplored the Israeli military raids that took place Sunday in a densely populated area of the Gaza Strip, in which at least 14 Palestinians were killed and dozens wounded. The dead include several children.

The Secretary-General calls on the Government of Israel to abide by its obligation under international humanitarian law to avoid civilian casualties and to desist from the use of disproportionate force in densely populated areas.

He also strongly deplored the reckless action by Palestinian extremists on Saturday at Erez checkpoint, where hundreds of Palestinians and UN and other international staff regularly cross to and from Israel, which resulted in the deaths of two Palestinian security officers. This is the third attack at Erez since the beginning of the year.

U.N. ASSESSMENT TEAM TO ARRIVE IN HAITI TUESDAY

A multi-disciplinary assessment team will begin arriving in Haiti on Tuesday. It will carry out a comprehensive assessment of the situation there as the United Nations begins planning for a follow-on stabilization force that the Security Council called to be deployed, in not more than three months from last Sunday.

Separately, the Secretary-General's Special Adviser on Haiti, John Reginald Dumas, returned to Trinidad and Tobago on Saturday after consultations in Kingston with Prime Minister P.J. Patterson of Jamaica, who also serves as Chairman of the Caribbean Community, or CARICOM.

Dumas is hoping to make his first visit to Haiti as Special Adviser sometime next week. He would then return to UN Headquarters for further consultations.

The Flash Appeal for Haiti will be presented to donors Tuesday at 10:30 a.m., and Jan Egeland, the UN emergency coordinator, will be the guest at the Tuesday noon briefing, where he will discuss humanitarian situation in Haiti.

Asked about the assessment team, the Spokesman said its work was a standard exercise prior to the set-up of a UN peacekeeping mission, and they would focus exclusively on the preparations for the follow-on force. The team's stay would overlap with that of Dumas, who, Eckhard added, would have a broader focus.

Asked about the CARICOM call for an investigation into the change of power in Haiti, the Spokesman said that the United Nations had not formally received CARICOMs request and would respond only after it had done so.

ON WOMENS DAY, ANNAN NOTES TOLL OF HIV/AIDS

The Secretary-General today marked International Womens Day by drawing attention to the devastating toll that HIV/AIDS is taking on women, who are increasingly bearing the brunt of the epidemic.

In sub-Saharan Africa, he said, more than half of all adults living with AIDS are women, and women also comprise at least half of those newly infected with HIV in the world as a whole. If such rates continue, women will soon become the majority of people infected with HIV throughout the world.

ANNAN MEETS WITH NATO PARLIAMENTARIANS, LEAVES FOR CANADA

The Secretary-General met today with a group of NATO Parliamentarians, and discussed with them NATOs current cooperation with the United Nations, in the Balkans and Afghanistan, as well as its increasing willingness to go global.

He said that, if the United Nations is to undertake new peace operations in African countries and Haiti over the coming year, stronger support from NATO would be tremendously helpful.

Once he has finished speaking with the Parliamentarians, the Secretary-General left for Canada, where he will pay an official visit and meet with Prime Minister Paul Martin and other senior officials over the next two days, before returning to New York on Wednesday.

UN ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY HEAD IS CONCERNED BY

OMISSION IN IRANIAN DECLARATION

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency today told the Agencys Board of Governors that he is seriously concerned that Irans October declaration of its nuclear technology did not include any reference to its possession of P-2 centrifuge designs and related research and development.

Mohamed ElBaradei called that omission a setback to Irans stated policy of transparency, although he noted Irans increasing cooperation with the IAEA and expressed the hope that other questions about Irans nuclear programs can be resolved with Tehrans full cooperation.

He added that, following the disclosure of its undeclared nuclear activities, Libya has granted the Agency unrestricted access to all requested locations, responded promptly to the Agencys requests for information, and assisted it in gaining a full picture of its nuclear program. Libya also agreed to conclude an additional protocol, and to act in the meantime as if the protocol is in force. ElBaradei said he would sign this additional protocol with Libya this week.

ANNAN NOTES FRAGILITY IN ETHIOPIA-ERITREA STALEMATE

The Secretary-Generals progress report on Ethiopia and Eritrea says that there have been no major incidents on the ground between those countries, but in the absence of political progress, military stability is becoming fragile and should not be taken for granted. He warns that the current stalemate is a source of instability and has the potential to become dangerous.

It is clear that the main reason for the stalemate is the lack of progress in the demarcation of the border, he says.

He reiterates his strong appeal to the two parties, in particular to Eritrea, to give Lloyd Axworthy, his Special Envoy for Ethiopia and Eritrea, the opportunity to meet and discuss with their leadership how best his good offices could help them to overcome the impasse in the implementation of the Algiers Agreement.

In view of Axworthys ongoing efforts and the continuing distrust between the parties, it would be premature at present to suggest any major changes to the configuration of the UN Mission, he says. He recommends that the missions mandate be extended for six more months, until September 15.

WORKSHOP HELD IN GHANA ON AFRICAN PEACEKEEPING

Thirty participants took part in a course on Enhancing African Police Peacekeeping Capabilities in Accra, the capital of Ghana last week, at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Center.

Almost all of the participants came from policy-making positions in 14 African countries, and three-quarters of them were bilingual or Francophone. They all expressed enthusiasm for supporting French-language peacekeeping requirements. Today, one of the participants requested a UN assistance team to help select officers for UN missions.

The course falls within the Secretary-Generals aim of enhancing African police leadership and increasing their involvement in missions.

U.N. MISSION IN AFGHANISTAN CONDEMNS ATTACKS ON GIRLS SCHOOLS

The head of the UN Mission in Afghanistan on Sunday condemned the two recent attacks that have taken place on girls schools, which damaged school grounds and educational materials. Special Representative Jean Arnault called these deplorable attacks cowardly and aimed at thwarting reconstruction and human development.

The Mission also mentioned that more than 1.3 million Afghans have so far registered to vote including some 356,000 women and 956,000 men.

U.N. ENVOY IN KOSOVO CONDEMNS PLACEMENT OF EXPLOSIVE DEVICE

Early Saturday morning, the Kosovo Police Service discovered an explosive device outside the Pristina headquarters of the UN Mission in Kosovo, which was later disarmed with the assistance of NATOs Kosovo Force. No damage was caused and there were no injuries.

The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Kosovo, Harri Holkeri, condemned this action, which placed members of the public at risk, and he regrets that extremists continue to threaten the people of Kosovo with these actions.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

NO NEW ANNAN PLAN SUBMITTED ON ISRAEL, SYRIA AND LEBANON: Asked to comment on media reports that the Secretary-General had submitted a new plan for Israel, Syria and Lebanon, the Spokesman said the Secretary-General has not submitted any plan.

NEGOTIATIONS ON CYPRUS CONTINUE: The Spokesman declined to respond to a question on comments from Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, other than to stress that negotiations on Cyprus continue and that the United Nations hopes they will conclude successfully. He added, in response to another question, that Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Kieran Prendergast will return to the Cyprus talks sometime next week.

ANNAN STILL STUDYING ACCOUNTABILITY REPORT: Asked about the report submitted by a panel headed by Gerald Walzer on UN accountability concerning the August 19, 2003 bombing in Baghdad, the Spokesman said the Secretary-General and his advisers were still studying the report.

NO SECURITY COUNCIL MEETINGS SCHEDULED: There are no meetings or consultations of the Security Council planned for today.

U.N. TRIBUNAL INDICTS TWO CROATIAN OFFICIALS: Today in The Hague, an indictment was unsealed against two Croatian officials, Ivan Cermak and Mladen Markac, charging them with war crimes and crimes against humanity, for the permanent removal of Serbs from the Krajina region and the plunder and destruction of Serb property.

CHARLES TAYLORS PROPERTIES SEARCHED: Investigators from the Office of the Prosecutor at the Special Court for Sierra Leone, together with police officers of the International Police Service of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) and Monrovia city court security officers searched properties of former Liberian President Charles Taylor.

NEW REPORT SHOWS ENVIRONMENTAL CONSEQUENCES OF COMPUTERS: A report from the United Nations University into environmental consequences of the information technology revolution has found that government incentives are quickly needed worldwide to extend the life of personal computers and slow the growth of high-tech trash. The report says that the average 24 kilogram desktop computer with monitor requires at least 10 times its weight in fossil fuels and chemicals to manufacture, much more materials intensive than an automobile or refrigerator.

UN CORRESPONDENTS ASSOCIATION MEMBER KILLED IN HAITI: Ricardo Ortega, a New York-based correspondent for the Spanish TV station Antena 3, and member of the UN Correspondents Association (UNCA), died on Sunday in Port-au-Prince, after being shot by gunfire that broke out near the presidential palace, where he was covering a protest.

  • The guest at today's briefing was the Executive Director of the UN Development Fund for Women, Noeleen Heyzer.

    Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General

    United Nations, S-378

    New York, NY 10017

    Tel. 212-963-7162 - press/media only

    Fax. 212-963-7055

    All other inquiries to be addressed to (212)

    963-4475 or by e-mail to: inquiries@un.org


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